Kastoria: Mansions, Fur-Traders and Lakeside Walks

Discover the beautiful Macedonian lakeside city with its grand mansions and a rich history. Kastoria is not an easy city. The cold is bitter, the streets are confusing and even the lake doesn’t help you navigate. I got lost many times; each time I thought I’d found my way when I reached the lake only to discover another part I hadn’t seen before. A huge glass-like surface, frozen by the cold, seemed to constantly reappear in front of me. Lake Orestiada has been designated by the Ministry of Culture as a natural monument, and Kastoria has risen around it. Anglers sit on the shores with fishing rods, waiting for hours for something to bite. Many others take to boats to fish on the lake. Along the promenade, adolescent girls ride bikes, elderly gentlemen wrapped in their thick coats stop to rest on benches, mothers chase their children, shouting at them to stay away from the water, vendors sell nuts and Russian tourists enthusiastically take photos in fur hats. The Old Town Doltso, the old quarter of the city is a place to lose yourself in. Dozens of mansions stand here, some dilapidated and others proudly restored either as private residences or traditional guesthouses. Thanks to these mansions and no less than 70 churches (Byzantine and post-Byzantine), Kastoria is a popular destination for historians and researchers. The city’s wealth of monuments has not yet been assessed in its entirety. Hopeful researchers circulate among the age-old buildings, patiently looking at walls, hoping to scrape the plaster and find a huge mural underneath. They dream of opening up an old stone basement and discovering forgotten family heirlooms and treasures. see full article here